Gochujang shrimp is a delicious Korean-inspired shrimp dish that combines sweet, savory, and spicy flavors. Gochujang is a Korean fermented red chili paste that adds a unique depth of flavor and spice to recipes. When combined with shrimp, gochujang creates an irresistible balance of flavors that is sure to become a new favorite.
We will walk you through everything you need to know to make gochujang shrimp at home, from key ingredients and tools to easy step-by-step instructions. You'll also learn some handy tips and tricks for getting the best results, plus find helpful answers to common questions about making gochujang shrimp.
Must-Have Ingredients for Gochujang Shrimp
Gochujang shrimp requires just a few key ingredients. Here's what you'll need to make this tasty dish:
- Shrimp - Use raw, peeled, and deveined shrimp. Larger shrimp like jumbo or colossal work best.
- Gochujang - This is the star ingredient that gives the dish its signature flavor. Look for it at Asian markets or in the Asian foods section of well-stocked grocery stores.
- Soy sauce - Use regular or low-sodium. Adds a salty, umami boost.
- Rice vinegar - Provides tangy flavor. Substitute with apple cider vinegar if needed.
- Honey or brown sugar - Contributes sweetness to balance the heat.
- Sesame oil - Brings nutty, toasted aroma.
- Garlic - Fundamental for enhancing overall flavor. Use minced or grated.
- Ginger (optional) - Pairs well with gochujang. Use grated or minced.
- Cornstarch - Vital for creating crispy, saucy shrimp.
- Vegetable oil - For pan-frying the shrimp. A neutral oil like canola works well.
Helpful Tools for Preparing Gochujang Shrimp
Having the right tools makes cooking gochujang shrimp easy. Here are some recommended items to have on hand:
- Large skillet or wok - For pan-frying the shrimp. Use nonstick for best results.
- Wooden spoons - Helpful for tossing shrimp in cornstarch and sauce.
- Tongs - Enable easy flipping and handling of shrimp.
- Mixing bowls - For preparing marinade, cornstarch coating, and sauce.
- Whisk - Whisk together sauce ingredients thoroughly.
- Measuring cups and spoons - Ensure accurate ingredient amounts.
- Cutting board and knife - Needed to mince garlic, ginger, etc.
- Spatula - For easy sauce stirring and shrimp turning.
- Serving platter - Let guests help themselves to piping hot gochujang shrimp.
Step-by-Step Guide for Making Gochujang Shrimp
Follow these simple steps for foolproof gochujang shrimp every time:
1. Pat shrimp dry and coat with cornstarch. Place shrimp in a bowl, pat extremely dry with paper towels, and toss with cornstarch until fully coated. The cornstarch will give the shrimp an ultra-crispy coating.
2. Make gochujang sauce. In another bowl, combine gochujang, soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey/sugar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger. Whisk well to fully incorporate.
3. Pan-fry shrimp. Heat 1-2 Tbsp vegetable oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Cook shrimp in batches if needed to avoid crowding. Fry for 2-3 minutes per side until shrimp are pink and opaque.
4. Toss shrimp in gochujang sauce. Reduce heat to medium-low. Add sauce and shrimp to skillet. Gently toss to coat shrimp fully. Let sauce thicken for 1-2 minutes.
5. Garnish and serve. Remove from heat. Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions if desired. Enjoy immediately while the shrimp is hot and crispy.
Handy Tips and Tricks
- Chilling the shrimp for 20-30 minutes before cooking helps ensure extra crunchy cornstarch coating.
- For a quick gochujang marinade, simply toss shrimp with a few tablespoons of gochujang before coating it in cornstarch.
- If the sauce seems too thick, thin it out with a splash of water, stock, or rice wine.
- For extra caramelized flavor, let the sauce reduce for 2-3 minutes once the shrimp is cooked.
- Tail-on shrimp makes for a pretty presentation. Just remove shells before eating.
- Cooked shrimp can be stored refrigerated in an airtight container for up to 4 days. Reheat gently before serving.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the best shrimp size to use?
Go with the largest shrimp available like jumbo or colossal. Their meat stands up best to pan-frying and sauce coating. Just adjust the cooking time as needed.
Can I use frozen shrimp?
Yes, thawed frozen shrimp will work. Pat is extremely dry after thawing to help the cornstarch adhere.
What if I can't find gochujang?
In a pinch, substitute with sriracha or chili-garlic sauce plus a bit of honey to balance the heat.
Can I make it gluten-free?
Absolutely. Use tamari instead of soy sauce and double-check your gochujang brand. Some contain wheat while others are gluten-free.
Can I add vegetables?
Sure! Try stirring in thinly sliced bell peppers, carrots, broccoli, or bok choy toward the end to lightly cook in the sauce.
Can I use brown sugar instead of honey?
No problem. Brown sugar subs in perfectly for the honey. Maple syrup also works well.
How spicy is it?
The amount of heat depends on the gochujang used. For less spice, start with 1 Tbsp gochujang and adjust up from there.
Gochujang shrimp is a quick and easy way to add bold, addictive Korean flavor to shrimp. In less than 30 minutes, you can have a tasty dish that brilliantly balances sweet and spicy.
Be sure to gather the essential ingredients and tools outlined above for seamless cooking. Follow the simple pan-frying steps, garnish with green onions, and enjoy this sensational shrimp straight away before the irresistible crispy coating softens.
With this handy guide providing tips and answers to common questions, you are fully equipped to make flavorful gochujang shrimp anytime. Surprise your family or guests with this crave-worthy fusion dish!
- 1 lb large shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 1/4 cup cornstarch
- 3 Tbsp gochujang
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- 1 Tbsp honey or brown sugar
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1 Tbsp sesame oil
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger (optional)
- 2 Tbsp vegetable oil
- Green onions, sliced, for garnish
- Pat shrimp dry and toss with cornstarch in a bowl until fully coated.
- In a small bowl, whisk together gochujang, soy sauce, honey/sugar, rice vinegar, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger.
- Heat vegetable oil in skillet over medium-high heat. Add shrimp in batches and fry 2-3 minutes per side until opaque.
- Reduce heat to medium-low. Add sauce and shrimp to skillet and toss to coat. Cook 1-2 minutes until sauce thickens.
- Garnish with green onions and serve immediately. Enjoy!